February 16, 2014

Watch Out – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. (I Peter 5:8) NLT

The New Living Translation, quoted above, is not intended to be a literal translation of the inspired words recorded by men “moved by the Holy Spirit.” (II Peter 1:21). It focuses on what the translators believe are the thoughts communicated by those inspired words. If we understand that it is more of a commentary than a Bible, the fresh expression of familiar ideas can be useful.

Peter’s words are a serious warning about a really, real danger. No, we don’t have to look out for lions as we walk through the beautiful woods of Arkansas, but there are a few snakes, and even occasional bears. If a wise, knowledgeable woodsman seriously warns you about what he, himself, has seen, it’s time to listen. When he is trying to impress you about real danger from snakes and bears where you are hiking, the words quoted above communicate well. “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

Near Benton, Tennessee, in April of 2006, a family was camping at a campground in Cherokee National Forest at a waterfall when a black bear attacked and killed a 6-year-old girl and mauled her mother and 2-year-old brother.

Joe Clark, a wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Geological Service who has been studying black bears for about 20 years, said, “As the populations of people and bears continue to grow there will be more opportunities for this type of thing. We are dealing with a large, powerful wild animal.” He said there have been 42 bear sightings in the area in the past couple of weeks. There have been only 56 documented killings of humans by black bears in North America in the past 100 years, but if you are in this neck of the woods, you better, “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

Physical danger scares us. What about spiritual danger? Since eternity is infinitely greater than our temporal existence, and eternal torment is the danger, you really need to, “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

Peter could speak from bitter experience. Someone who knew had warned him of the danger, but Peter refused to heed the warning and was overcome.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;…But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:31-34)

We know the sad, tragic result of ignoring this warning from Jesus. No wonder Peter could warn with such urgency: “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

In the immediate context Peter is now warning against spiritual dangers to young and old, against the dangers of greed and pride.

“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you…shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain,” (I Peter 5:1-2)

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,…” (I Peter 5:5-6)

Likewise, the Apostle Paul had been greatly deceived by the Devil’s cunning. In spite of his uninformed, clear conscience, this sincere, devoutly religious man, put Christians to death. He warns of similar danger to us, lest…

“advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

Though Satan is deceptive and powerful, there is never an excuse for falling for his temptations. God promises that we will never be tempted beyond our ability to resist. (I Corinthians 10:13) But, we must “Be careful.” “Watch out.”

James succinctly expresses the powerful promised solution.

“Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

 

 

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